See you in 2021

Today’s festive-season horrors: 19-year-old Tony Chung jailed for disrespecting the flag; a  NatSec Law detainee put in extra-special custody for scribbling a Hong Kong independence slogan on his cell wall; no-one is allowed into the HK 12 trial in Shenzhen. On a brighter note, a judge notes that Jimmy Lai’s supposed collusion with foreign forces look like merely comments and criticisms.

New Year reading for the gentry…

Reuters has a big feature on what has made Carrie Lam the way she is. Not much really new. It would be interesting to know why all the other top officials – Matthew Cheung, Teresa Cheng, et al – are just as willing to follow the CCP’s orders.

Western and Asian envoys in Hong Kong say they have found Lam increasingly “reclusive.” Long-time observers say she has become almost unrecognizable since she came to power in 2017. Her language in media briefings and in conversation with Western diplomats is increasingly formal, similar to that of Beijing.

A former senior government official and colleague said Lam had become distant. She added, “I don’t think anybody in their wildest dreams expected her to turn out like this.”

Former classmate Lee said he believed Lam “didn’t anticipate that the Chinese Communist Party is so cruel or so totalitarian.”

Well, no-one ever accused her of being in touch.

This is a must-read. Lawyer and former San Francisco police commissioner Doug Chan in Eastwind reviews the SCMP’s Rebel City documentary about the 2019 uprising, finding it… 

…slickly-produced apologia for the thuggish policing and incompetent government that are greasing the skids for Hong Kong’s creeping authoritarianism.

The review is packed with gems about Yonden Lhatoo and Regina Ip, among others.

As you would expect from something called Radical History, dangerously subversive ideas on Hong Kong and Taiwan

The argument that these two places rightfully “belong” to China is based on a version of the country that has not existed for five generations now and was only ever itself a tenuous reality in the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries…

By rejecting or modifying the label “Chinese,” both territories have started exploring what it might mean to honor their histories as multicultural and multiethnic societies instead.

A link to some ‘utter, superb China-bollocks’ about how the ancient mystical Oriental mind works.

The ancient mystical Oriental mind does foreign policy: how China is learning to lose friends and alienate countries, the Swedish edition.

A presentation by David Webb on the costs and benefits of three broad approaches to countering the Covid pandemic. Perhaps not surprisingly, the middling neither-tough-nor-lax regimes used in the US/UK/EU produce the worst results in terms of the number of lives lost, disruption to people’s lives, and likely long-term economic damage.

New Bloom explains how most Taiwanese would like to rename the country’s flag carrier, currently known as [Republic of] China Airlines. But even changes to the livery are controversial. (Beijing threatens to veto the company’s air traffic rights if it adopts a ‘Taiwanese’ or non-motherland name. How about a romanized ‘Chunghwa Airlines’? Good enough for the phone company. Or even ‘Zhonghua etc’, if that’s what it takes to satisfy the CCP’s nomenclature and Pinyin fetishists. Most foreign audiences wouldn’t perceive a ‘China’ connection.)

Also on nomenclature, Transit Jam asks why the planners called the latest infrastructural marvel the bland and clunky Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Tunnel instead of the zippier (and geographically more appropriate) Long Ku or ‘Dragon Drum’ Tunnel. (Simple answer: have you ever seen what happens when bureaucrats try to be creative? It’s not pretty.) How about White Elephant No 17?

And for light relief, the HK Film-makers Federation video on how they shoot action choreography – aka kung-fu-bodies-flying-through-air-stuff.

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21 Responses to See you in 2021

  1. D says:

    All the best for 2021. Thanks for your thoughts this year.

  2. Low Profile says:

    Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of Hong Kong’s current situation is the apparent ease with which Carrie Lam and other members of the ruling elite, western-educated and brought up in a relatively free society under the rule of law, have slipped so smoothly into the role of hard-line apologists for dictatorship.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Isn’t that always the case, Low Profile? Repressed hostility, delusions of grandeur, “I know better than most” syndrome and perhaps a few small animal killings in youth.

  4. Knownot says:

    This Side, That Side

    Now Xianggang is Hong Kong just in name,
    People wonder who to blame.
    Blame this side for violent demonstration;
    Blame that side for provocation.

    This side sees a city’s life deformed
    By thugs, ill-trained, but uniformed;
    That side says that foreign forces back
    Subversive rioters in black.
    – – – – – – – – – –

    This side knows it cannot win, but fights
    For something hazy, civil rights;
    That side sends enforcers to the street
    For power, relentless, hard, and concrete.

    That side praises resolute police
    And says, “At last, again at peace.”
    This side watches sad, dismayed, appalled;
    “The march of folly”, it’s been called.
    – – – – – – – – – –

    That side hears the crowd’s obedient cheers,
    And thinks, “We’ll last a hundred years.”
    That side buries virus, truth, and fears,
    And thinks, “We’ll last ten thousand years.”

    This side sees a movement’s suicide
    And feebly says, “At least we tried.”
    This side sees a government defied
    And proudly says, “At least we tried.”
    – – – – – – – – – –

    This side, that side, carried by a flow;
    Like litter in a stream they go,
    Tossing, turning, helpless, carried down
    The river of events, they drown.

    The river snuffs the sparkle of Hong Kong,
    The current is too high, too strong.
    The river flows, not to a sea that cleans,
    But to a cesspool, to latrines.

  5. dimuendo says:

    Knownot

    Excellet but thoroughly depressing..

    Talking of cesspools, my secretary lives in one of the blocks where because of covid in the sewage all residents have been required to take a covid test. The objective is apparently to identify the asymtomatic carriers so s/he/they can be (promptly) quaratined and not affect others.

    She queued up this morning, gave her sample and was then told she was free to go to work! She will be notified by text of the result in three days time.

    No comments about next year, as I do not wish to tempt fate.

    Enjoy yourselves but not too much.

    PS As to the rather nice reservoir in Sham shi po why not restore it and use it as a (alleged) water “tank”?

  6. Doug Chan is presently one of five Commissioners in San Francisco’s Civil Service Commission (according to their website).

    Police accountability appears to be, as you might expect, one of his areas of expertise.

    The phrases “..the dreck that passes for journalism..” and “A bridge Lhatoo far” almost won me over, but Doug’s assertion that 2003 was when Joshua WONG and Agnes CHOW “gained overnight followings” put me off again.

    As well as a hatchet job on Yonden Lhatoo and Rupert Dover, Chan cherrypicks his way through various incidents that he claims show a police force “transforming itself into an urban garrison of the Peoples Armed Police…. “

    At least he hasn’t brought up the old lie about people murdered by the police under Prince Edward MTR station.

    I’m not qualified to comment on how “Law and Order” things are done in San Francisco, but they have unsolved issues of their own. Perhaps Doug could stick to those…

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    That is probably knownot’s best work ever.

  8. where's my jet plane says:

    I came across, recently, a description of the Soviet socialist system as “Trickle Down Incompetence”. That describes our situation in spades, though maybe too mild. More like “Flood Down Incompetence”.

    As for why the other minor league puppets are just as willing to follow the CCP’s orders, I suspect it’s an intrinsic feature of the bureacratic mind-set that leads them into that sort of career in the first place.

  9. Hamantha says:

    @dimuendo

    “Talking of cesspools, my secretary lives in one of the blocks where because of covid in the sewage all residents have been required to take a covid test. The objective is apparently to identify the asymtomatic carriers so s/he/they can be (promptly) quaratined and not affect others.

    She queued up this morning, gave her sample and was then told she was free to go to work! She will be notified by text of the result in three days time.”

    So… She and the rest of the residents of the 53 blocks are free to move about Hong Kong, even before knowing their respective statuses.

    What a great way to create more asymptomatic carriers, that the government can subsequently identify, forcibly quarantine and otherwise “affect”!

  10. Jason says:

    Thanks for the excellent links and Happy New Year!

    Contrary to Meerkats#4, I particularly appreciate Doug Chan’s review of Alibaba MP’s “brand of protest porn”. It isn’t easy to write in depth about such a shallow propaganda piece.

  11. Probably says:

    @ where’s my jet plane

    “As for why the other minor league puppets are just as willing to follow the CCP’s orders, I suspect it’s an intrinsic feature of the bureacratic mind-set that leads them into that sort of career in the first place.”

    If that is their mindset could they not just do us all a favour and rather than follow BJ orders just visit Queen Cynthia as highlighted in yesterday’s blog to get their fix of domination?

  12. Knownot says:

    dimuendo, Mark Bradley – Thank you very much for your comments.

    – – – – –

    ” It would be interesting to know why all the other top officials – Matthew Cheung, Teresa Cheng, et al – are just as willing to follow the CCP’s orders.”

    ​I have tried to make a sympathetic list of reasons why senior civil servants might stay at their posts.

    1. Ambition. They want to continue rising, or to retain the positions they have gained. In itself, ambition is not a bad thing; it is the desire to do one’s best.
    2. Duty. An old-fashioned virtue, but still a virtue. As they say, a wish to “serve China”.
    3. Power. They enjoy the power they have and hope to make a mark, to make things better in some way.
    4. A belief in law and order, an abhorrence of the disorder and disruption they saw in 2019.
    5. Neutrality. Civil servants should execute the policies of the government, whether they agree with them or not.
    6. Resignation would be futile. Their successor would do the same thing, but be less experienced and (in their view) less competent.
    7. Threat. The authorities know of a past transgression, sexual or financial.
    8. Attachment to a way of life, a standard of living, which is hard to give up.
    9. Family responsibilities. A middle-aged civil servant may be supporting parents, spouse, and children.

  13. where's my jet plane says:

    The CFA is obedient to its master’s will.

  14. Red Dragon says:

    Hemmers.

    Very unkind of you to post the link to the China bollocks.

    I nearly died of boredom.

    Happy New Year to you and all the others in here.

    Except Arsehole #4, of course.

  15. Mary Melville says:

    Came down through Lan Kwai Fong around 7pm after being kicked out from a bar further up. Talk about overkill, three deep barriers and hundreds of uniforms on triple pay. Its not like anybody kool would go there anyway.
    Happy New Year all, surely we are now scraping the barrel of repression and the lexicon of asinine and infantile measures has been exhausted.

  16. Mary Melville says:

    My optimism has been dashed, there IS no limit to the depth of malevolence.
    31st December 2020 – (Hong Kong) 24-year-old Agnes Chow, a former member of Demosisto was sentenced to 10 months in prison for participating in the siege of the police headquarters on 21st June last year. According to sources, she has been sent from the medium-security Lo Wu Correctional Institution to the maximum-security Tai Lam Centre for Women, which accommodates Category A prisoners who have committed serious crimes such as murder and drug trafficking. Prisoners are held in solitary confinement.

  17. dimuendo says:

    Know not

    Some of your efforts are worth reproducing and preserving.

    As for your list, considered and balanced as always, but omits one variant on power. Namely they enjoy the power they have, but nothing about making anything better, just power, however limited it might be in their case. Call it malevolence.

    Plus simply the quisling kowtow.

    As for malevolence, Mary, never underestimate its power and the pleasure it brings to those exercising it.

    Clearly the intention is to break Agnes Chow, which they may, and Joshua Wong with his category A status.

    As for the CFA the higher level of the judiciary can dress it up as they like but they clearly have no spine.

    Be interesting to see if Geoffrey Ma is part of the sitting court on the 1st February or if he is then in the process of seeking to do a runner back to Altricham.

  18. Low Profile says:

    @Knownot – too sympathetic, I’m afraid. No doubt true of some, but there are also those who just like to bully and trample on others. Sheer natural nastiness and a powerful authoritarian streak can take some people a long way. In 1930s Germany, some of these officials would have been happily rounding up Jews and designing gas chambers.

  19. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Mary M: Fuuuuuuucking hell….what’s next, ballets and operas with rouge cheeked performers dedicated to the PoPo “clearing out of riotous mobs causing mayhem”?? Performances heralding the YL triads for their selfless, heroic dedication and service to emperor and country? NorKo style goose stepping parades along Des Voeux Rd (soon to be renamed Xin Hua Rd)??

  20. Guest says:

    @where’s my jet plane: some of those “minor league puppets” sit in high perches at the universities.

    @Knownot: the abovementioned folks most likely embody Criteria Nos.1, 3, and 8.

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